I've seen a few of Bergman's movies but I can safely say that this one is the most challenging to get into and yet is one of the more rewarding for the patient viewer willing to take repeated stabs at it. I loved "The Seventh Seal" and the later "Fanny & Alexander" and I'm now getting to love "Persona" as well. Having all 3 on Criterion helps too as the picture and sound qualities are excellent as one expects from any of their releases. Also included is a 60-page booklet containing an essay on the film and an interview with the director. This film challenges the viewer in a number of ways and questions our conceptions as to what film really is. Do we consider the characters as is or metaphorically or what are we supposed to think? The answer the director himself would probably say depends on you and how you wish to view this. The part in the film where the film itself appears to disintegrate comes across as self-sabotage to me at first but then it seems to be the director giving me a hint on how to interpret this work. Is he reminding me that this is just a film and so as actors simply portray roles or personas of others or of themselves for a time could all three people, the young man in the beginning, Liv and Bibi's characters all be the same person with different personas? Is this all a dream or is anything actual? It is this confusion and trying to figure this out for me is what makes this a great film that rewards repeated viewing as any classic film should.
For those who like to be challenged by film this one should certainly be in your video library.